Fort Fetterman was established in 1867 as a defensive post by the U.S. military. It was one of four forts established along the Bozeman Trail to protect the westward-bound travelers. The other three, Forts Reno, Kearny and Smith, were deactivated in 1868, leaving Fort Fetterman as the lone bastion along the trail. Named in memory of Captain Willliam J. Fetterman, killed in a battle with Indians near Fort Kearny in 1866, the fort was in service for 15 years before deactivation. Fort Fetterman’s significance peaked during the middle 1870s when it served as the base of operations for several military campaigns against the Indians. When hostilities in the region ceased, the fort’s importance declined, and it was abandoned in 1882. Today the fort is a state historic site open to the public. Two of the restored, original buildings, an officer’s quarters and an ordnance warehouse, house exhibits highlighting the fort’s history and that of the region. Visitors are encouraged to walk the interpretive trail through the site. Historic guided tours are available upon request, and the park hosts the annual Fort Fetterman Days, a living history event.
On March 1, 1872, Yellowstone was established as the nation’s first national park, encompassing more than 2.2 million acres of wildlife, wilderness, and wondrous scenery. It is well known that Yellowstone contains an “embarrassment” of riches. This vast wilderness contains more than 10,000 hot springs, mud pots, hot pots, fumaroles, and other geothermal phenomena, including Old Faithful Geyser. Other treasures include waterfalls, wildlife, fossil forests, Yellowstone’s 1,500-foot deep Grand Canyon, Hayden Valley, Lower Falls, and Yellowstone Lake, the largest mountain lake in North America.
There are man-made wonders as well: numerous park lodges, museums, a road system designed to show off many of the wonders, and the historic Old Faithful Inn. The awe-inspiring Old Faithful Inn was built in 1903 – 1904 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. This log hotel, with gabled roof, gnarled logs, and seven-story interior log lobby stands adjacent to the world’s best-known geyser, Old Faithful. Designed by Robert Reamer, the rustic grandeur of the Inn was a first for the National Park Service. The Inn continues as an active hotel with accommodations of varying price levels. Even if you aren’t a guest of the Inn, it definitely deserves a visit.
And that’s just for starters. Summon up your reserve energy, because the park offers unbounded, year-round recreational opportunities.
In 1879, a 21-year old Texas cowpuncher drove a herd of longhorns to Wyoming. Within a few years, John B. Kendrick (that cowpuncher turned cattle baron) had amassed a fortune in the Wyoming cattle boom of the 1880s, and commissioned Montana architect Glenn Charles McAlister to design a home for his family. Completed in 1913, the 18-room Flemish Revival mansion was built in the center of Sheridan. The home included some early 20th century state-of-the-art technologies: a central vacuum system, electricity, and plumbing. Kendrick named his elegant new home “Trail End,” even though he was about to embark on a new trail, this time as a civic-minded politician. In 1910, John B. Kendrick was elected to the state senate, was elected Governor in 1914, and in 1917 began a distinguished career in the U.S. Senate. Today, Trail End is maintained as a museum/home that depicts the early 20th century era of the well-heeled Kendrick family. Self-guided tours include the mansion, carriage house, and the extensive gardens and grounds. Trail End is also a repository for archive and photograph collections specific to local and regional history. This architecturally significant home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.